Vinci, victorious here in 2011 for her lone WTA grass court title, is the lone former 's-Hertogenbosch champion in this year's draw. The Italian rose to a career-high No.11 last week and is looking to accomplish something she has done only one other time in her career, go on to the title at an event where she is the No.1 seed - having done so at Budapest in 2011.
Vinci's 63 63 defeat of Kanepi, her third win in four meetings with the Estonian, gave her a nice start toward that goal.
"It was my first match on grass this year, so it takes some getting used to," Vinci said. "But overall, I played a great match."
The competition for Vinci doesn't get any easier in the second round in the form of Simona Halep, who captured her first WTA title last week in Nürnberg.
"It will be tough," Vinci said. "Simona's feeling confident. She won a tournament last week on clay. It will be different here, but I will have to play a great match to win. I'm ready to play tomorrow, I'm focused and I'll try my best to win."
Also moving into the second round was fourth-seeded Kirsten Flipkens, a 36 63 60 winner over Francesca Schiavone. Their series is now knotted at 2-2, with the last three having gone three sets - including their most recent encounter won by Schiavone in the second round of the French Open a few weeks ago.
Lesia Tsurenko advanced when Daniela Hantuchova was forced to retire because of dizziness down 5-0 in the first set. The Slovak secured her first WTA grass court title just two days ago in Birmingham.
"It was just exhaustion after last week," Hantuchova said. "I really had nothing in me. I had a wonderful week last week, and I still wanted to give my best here, but sometimes the body says no. I came here to try, but it just didn't make sense, especially the week before Wimbledon."
Setting up a quarterfinal encounter were No.3 seed Carla Suárez Navarro and Tsvetana Pironkova. Suárez Navarro beat Sofia Arvidsson, 63 64, and Pironkova was a 76(7) 62 victor over Irina-Camelia Begu. Last year's runner-up, No.7 seed Urszula Radwanska, also made the quarters when Magdalena Rybarikova retired with a back injury down a break in the first set.